Seoul to create special unit to attack N Korea nuke, missile assets

Seoul to create special unit to attack N Korea nuke, missile assets
South Korean soldiers re-enact the 1950 battle of Nakdong River to mark the 65th anniversary at the town of Waegwan in Chilgok county on September 10, 2015.

South Korea is seeking to create a special unit in the Army tasked with destroying North Korea's nuclear weapons, long-range missiles and other strategic assets should an emergency break out, military officials said Wednesday.

The brigade-level organisation will be installed within the Army's Special Warfare Command, with its primary mission being to "strike the enemy's core strategic targets," the command stated in a report submitted to the National Assembly's defence committee for a parliamentary audit.

"(The plan) is intended for operations in North Korea," Commander Lt. Gen. Chang Kyung-suk said during the audit at the Army headquarters in the Gyeryongdae military compound in South Chungcheong Province.

"Work is underway to transform one of the six brigades forming the special forces into a unit that will run independent operations."

While operable in the North on its own, the envisioned brigade may engage in joint actions with the US such as for combat service support that requires infiltration tools, Chang noted.

The command also said in the report that it was pushing to set up a special aviation unit to boost independent infiltration capabilities by upgrading its aircraft and deploying high altitude infiltration equipment.

To better fend off the communist neighbour's drone threats, the Army's Capital Defence Command has established a new squad and beefed up related personnel, it said in a separate document.

A rising number of North Korean drones have encroached on South Korean airspace in recent years.

A year ago, the wreckage of a small unmanned aerial vehicle was collected by a fisherman near a border island in the West Sea. It was similar to drones found months earlier near Baengnyeongdo Island; Paju, Gyeonggi Province; and Samcheok, Gangwon Province.

The discovery has triggered concerns over what critics call porous air defence, especially after some of the drones were found to have taken as many as 200 pictures while flying over Cheong Wa Dae and other parts of Seoul, though the Defence Ministry said they were not sent back to the communist state.

"We've improved the capital air defence operation system, while securing more air-raid weapons on standby for combat missions," the command said.

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